NFL fans who want an extra dose of drama will enjoy two Week 11 rivalries: the Steelers-Browns and Chiefs-Chargers games. Both matchups feature one struggling team in need of resetting the narrative before the season dies.
Pile on the weight of explosive recent histories. Add a pinch of long-term bad blood, and you’ve got a recipe for good football! Let’s break down the history of these two highly anticipated games.
Steelers vs. Browns games become must-watch TV
The Steelers-Browns rivalry dates back to their first meeting on October 7, 1950. Cleveland won the game 30-17 over Pittsburgh. They were natural rivals, both from manufacturing cities connected by Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpike systems. This led fans to dub their grudge “The Turnpike War.”
The excitement of butting heads eventually cooled as the Browns’ struggles left them in the dust. In the ’70s, the Steelers dragged the Browns across 16 consecutive home games in Pittsburgh. This rivalry had fits and starts but once quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joined the Steelers in 2004, the Browns were officially out of the race.
These days, however, Cleveland is shoring up its offense and making a legitimate attempt at a playoff appearance. Things are heating back up, and there’s never been a better time to watch.
Chargers seek to take the Chiefs down a notch
The Chiefs-Chargers rivalry began in 1960 during AFL days. The Kansas City Chiefs were the Dallas Texans — no, not those Texans — and lost their first game against the Los Angeles Chargers, 21-20.
Today’s Chiefs hold a unique record that makes them a target Chargers fans: They are the only NFL team with winning records against all of their divisional opponents. The Chargers, in contrast, have a historic losing record against all of their divisional foes.
Recent history makes this matchup so interesting. After losing nine straight games to the Chiefs, the Chargers changed the narrative. On December 13, 2018, the LA squad rallied to erase a 14-point deficit in the last four minutes of the game. A two-point conversion sealed the Chiefs’ humiliating fate. The Chargers won, 29-28 — and Kansas City fans are out for blood.
What to expect from NFL’s Week 11 rivalries
As the 2019-20 season began, Cleveland was seen as a playoff contender. Fans of both teams were salivating at the chance to stoke the fires of this rivalry. However, the Browns’ 2-6 start was well below expectations. Mayfield’s antics may be the biggest disappointment of the year.
Meanwhile, the Steelers’ 4-4 record has fans demanding an answer for where their season is headed. They’ll need a big showing from the injured Roethlisberger’s replacement, Mason Rudolph. The revival of The Turnpike War starts Week 11.
As for the Chargers and Chiefs, there’s more to this game than Kansas City’s need for revenge. The Chargers are currently embroiled in controversy over another rumored move, this time to London. The Chiefs are more of a question mark than they should be with quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ injury. The game is hosted in LA but will almost assuredly be filled with tens of thousands of Kansas City fans.
Do you want to watch a football team with a chip on its shoulder try to prove their place in the NFL? Then, Chiefs-versus-Chargers is the game to watch.